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Penn's undergraduate admissions visitor center is located in Claudia Cohen Hall. Credit: Abhiram Juvvadi

From the overturn of affirmative action to The Daily Pennsylvanian's reveal of a quiet restructuring of legacy admissions policies, Penn admissions was marked by change this year. 

Prospective students saw a return to fully in-person Quaker Days and changes to the 2023-24 Penn application. Penn community members shared their thoughts about the future of college admissions post-affirmative action, and the DP analyzed the impacts of Penn’s test-optional policy. 

Jan. 9 Penn Admissions announced that the test-optional policy for first-year and transfer applicants will continue through the 2023-24 admissions cycle. 

Jan. 18Penn received over 59,000 applications to the Class of 2027, a record number of applications and a 7% increase from the 2021-22 cycle.

March 1Jordan Pascucci was named vice dean and director of admissions after a three-month search to replace John McLaughlin, who left Penn in 2022

March 22A DP analysis found that Penn Admissions had quietly refined policies related to legacy admissions.

For the Class of 2026, Penn Admissions updated its information webpage, removing the section implying that legacies should apply through the Early Decision program. The First Friday drop-in hours — designed specifically for the children of Penn alumni, faculty, and staff — were also discontinued.

March 29The DP spoke with Penn administrators, professors, and students about the likely overturn of affirmative action in college admissions by the Supreme Court. In statements to the DP, President Liz Magill and Dean of Admissions Whitney Soule affirmed Penn’s commitment to diversity as crucial to the University’s mission. 

March 30 Penn released regular decision admission results for the Class of 2027. The University did not immediately release demographics data nor an exact number of admits.  

April 13 to 15 Hundreds of admitted students attended Quaker Days on Penn’s campus. Tours and programming were offered all day for the first time in three years. In 2022, on-campus sessions returned. 

June 28 Vice Provost and Dean of Admissions Whitney Soule presented admission statistics for the Class of 2027 to the University Board of Trustees, including that 3,474 students were admitted from 48 states and 97 countries, resulting in an acceptance rate of 5.8%. Legacy students made up 14% of the Class of 2027.

June 29 The Supreme Court overturned affirmative action in college admissions in a 6-3 decision. 

July 20Penn community members spoke with the DP about the implications of the overturn of affirmative action for both Penn admissions and college admissions as a whole, with many echoing criticism of the decision and concern for the future. Administrators, faculty, and students discussed the ambiguous nature of the decision’s wording, possible next steps, and the impact that the decision will have on Penn’s community and society as a whole. 

July 31Penn Admissions added a new, school-specific essay prompt to the 2023-24 Penn application. Three other changes to the application were also announced.

Aug. 30A DP analysis found that approximately 30% of the Class of 2026 did not submit test scores in 2022, the third-highest percentage in the Ivy League.

Aug. 30 Pennsylvania State Senator Anthony H. Williams introduced legislation that would eliminate legacy admissions at public and private colleges and universities across the state, stating that they violate the recent Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action. 

Check out the rest of the DP’s Year in Review content here.